Takeaway: Humility is an under appreciated Christian virtue.
As I was getting ready to publish this post I read a post by Kelly Moreton. She relates a quote that I think is the central issue with humility.
Every problem in the world is a relationship problem. The problem with relationships is pride. The solution to that problem is humility.
The older I get, the more I want to say that real and deep wisdom comes with age. Not that with age comes wisdom, because I know many older people that have never acquired wisdom. But that in order to really develop wisdom, you need some years. C.J. Mahaney is a good example of someone that has put in the time and effort into developing wisdom. Humility (audiobook link) is a great example of a good book that if we put it into practice will help us move in the direction of spiritual growth, wisdom, and of course, humility.
The first section of Humility (Amazon) is devoted to a description of what is and is not humility, and why pride, the opposite of humility, is the root of all other sin. Mahaney uses a simple way to help describe pride. Pride is when “we contend with God for supremacy”. He says that years before contemplating this book he started making confession to God, and occasionally to others, around pride. He stopped saying, “Please forgive me for my pride” and started saying “Please forgive me for contending with God for supremacy.” This focuses him more on what pride, and humility, are really about.
The remainder of the book (about the last 75 percent) is devoted to practical ways to encourage humility. Some of them are practices of spiritual devotion, along the lines of Spiritual Devotions for the Christian Life (my review) which is specifically mentioned. But there are many others, like re-claiming our commute. There is also an extended section on sleep, why it is important, why God created it and what we should do for spiritual benefit as we get ready for it. This is probably the closest that anyone I am aware of has come to a theology of sleep.
There is also an extended discussion on Habakkuk about the relationship of suffering and humility. There is good quote from DA Carson, “The truth of the matter is that all we have to do is live long enough and we will suffer.” Mahaney then suggests that we need to prepare to respond humbly to trials. He does not really deal with the problem of evil (why is there suffering) but instead focuses on how suffering can allow us to better focus on humility before God.
The final section is on parenting. I am not a parent, but I am a full time nanny for my two nieces (2 1/2 and 1). I think the 15 minutes (on audiobook) or so of why we should focus on developing humility in our children and some practical steps on how to do it are worth the price of the book. Like the rest of the book, the parenting section isn’t revolutionary, but it is clear, succinct and convicting. Overall this is a great book.
Discussion about prices and lenght: This is not a part of the official review. But I think it is odd that the hardback, the kindle version and the Christianaudio audiobook are all within $0.94 of one another.
The second issue is length. I traditionally only bought audiobooks that were at least 10 hours long. That was when I had more time and did a lot more data-entry at work. As I have been more focused on posting three book reviews a week, I am realizing that many of these short books, really might be better. Not only because I can keep to my deadlines, but because many of them get to the point, make the point and finish without a lot of the fluff. Admittedly fiction and non-fiction have different goals, so I still don’t think I would buy a 3 hour fiction audiobook. But even many of the fiction books I have read recently are adding too much fluff that does not really add to the story.
Disclosure: I am a part of ChristianAudio.com’s blogger program. They provided me with a free copy with the understanding that I will blog about it and post a review in their store. I am not required to give a positive review.